Lukashenka's economy will collapse without Russian support.
Dmitry Balkunets, a Moscow political analyst of Belarusian origin, said this in an interview with the Nasha Niva newspaper:
–Independence of Belarus is a primary thing. It should remain an independent country. The question is, what Lukashenka has done for the last 22 years to make Belarus independent? Has Belarus changed its dependence on Russian oil or gas? Has it started development of its own alternative energy?
– Attempts have been made to diversify the supply of oil from Venezuela and Azerbaijan. Moscow reacted nervously to them.
– Venezuela oil cost $850. According to some sources, the money wasn't paid to Venezuela. This was a mutual offset for some projects and for special relationship between Chavez and Lukashenka. At the same time, Russian oil cost 500 including all taxes. That's why this option wasn't used any more. As for today, Belarus has no opportunity to find alternative variants to keep the economy afloat. Belarus gets, probably, the cheapest gas in Europe.
If information scandals related to energy cooperation appear, this leads to a very negative perception of the country in the media scene. The Belarusian authorities are seen as a beggar, who is trying to get grants or money in the Russian market.
– Do you agree that Belarus won't survive without Russia with the current regime?
– My opinion is that current Belarusian economic realities show that Lukashenka's economy cannot exist without Russian support. Well, of course it can survive, but the salaries in the country will be equal to 40-50 dollars. Look how many Belarusians go to Russia to earn money. According to my estimates, the figure is half a million people. In 2011-2013 this figure amounted to 800 thousand. Exactly this has become one of the reasons for the introduction of the senseless tax on "social parasites".
How many Russians have come to Belarus to earn the money? If there are any, there are very few of them. Belarus does nothing to become independent of Russia. When Lukashenka came to power, he did everything possible to internationally isolate the country.
Lukashenka is still a political outcast in the West, same as he has always been. The same is about the decision on visas, I only support it, but it came kind of fifteen years too late.